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Thursday, February 05, 2009

Jim Webb's Baby Bailout

Interesting editorial from the KTN.

Taxpayers shouldn't foot bill for fed workers' leave

Call it the “Baby Bailout.”

U.S. Sen. Jim Webb, D-Virginia, has reintroduced a bill that would give four weeks of paid leave to federal employees for the birth or adoption of a child.

How generous of Sen. Webb to obligate the nation’s taxpayers for the private choices of federal workers.

Webb characterizes his bill as “an issue of fairness for federal employees. It is our goal to ensure that the federal government, the nation’s largest employer, maintain policies that support strong families and set an example for the private sector.”

But what’s fair about giving federal workers — whose wage, health, retirement and other benefits already outpace millions in the private sector — yet another plum?

While the nation’s 2.7 million federal employees are already entitled to the same 12 weeks of unpaid leave guaranteed to all workers by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), Webb argues that many federal workers cannot afford to forego pay to take leave. As it is, he says, these federal workers must use their accrued sick days and vacation days instead — just like most employees in the private sector.

Sen. Webb and other supporters of the Family Leave Act point out that the majority of Fortune 100 companies provide paid maternity benefits. But, then, these private companies aren’t compelling U.S. taxpayers to pick up the tab for that benefit.

Any new parent — including those on the federal payroll — is already entitled to up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave with the guarantee of job protection, and that’s all well and good. But why should federal workers receive a month off — with full pay — simply because they made a personal decision to have or adopt a child?

Shouldn’t all families, no matter what the source of their income, continue to plan for their children and to save their money until they can afford them? Do we want government taking money from us and redistributing it to new parents who happen to work for the federal government, but who didn’t financially prepare for their children?

Where will it end?

Certainly, we’d all like new parents to have every opportunity to properly care for their children. We’d like the children to be born into good homes and have adequate care, food and clothing. But these things carry a cost. And that cost should be borne by the parents, not everybody else. If those parents — one or both of whom happens to work for the federal government — cannot afford that cost, perhaps they should reconsider their choice of having children. It’s called personal responsibility — something that seems lost on liberals like Sen. Webb as they continue to spend, spend, spend our tax dollars.

I fear "Personal responsibility" is a lost cause. Thanks Jim for wanting the responsible people to pay for those that choose not to be. Very sad.

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